Mahabharata Epic Across Asia Ancient Indian Knowledge System Transcending Spatio-Temporal Boundaries

deadline for submissions: 
May 25, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad

"The greatest event of our age is the meeting of cultures, meeting of civilizations, meeting of different points of view, making us understand that we should not adhere to any one kind of single faith, but respect diversity of belief. Our attempt should always be to cooperate, to bring together people, to establish friendship and have some kind of a right world in which we can live together in happiness, harmony and friendship. Let us therefore realize that this increasing maturity should express itself in this capacity to understand what other points of view are’?"- Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.

The main aim of this conference is not to establish any truth rather to confirm our perpetual journey to explore truth. This conference will explore Mahābhārata and the intellectual-historical genres and matters discussed in it in new ways in the light of recent thinking and research on this epic. Mahābhārata has diffused into not only Indian life but also in the life of entire South Asia to such an extent that every aspect of life in this region is influenced by it directly or indirectly. Contrary to popular belief that it is a Hindu religious text, it has been adopted and adapted by almost all cultures, communities and have attracted scholars from all religions and regions.

The discussion and analysis of the philosophical and theological texts that form an integral part of Mahābhārata have received a considerable critical attention from the scholars around the world. Furthermore, creative writers from different cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds across time and space have adapted sometimes just a fragment and sometimes the whole of Mahābhārata for their creative writings that expended the epic and added to its ever-expanding meaning. For instance, Angelika Malinar’s Rājavidyā: Das königliche Wissen um Herrschaft und Verzicht. Studien zur Bhagavadgītā examines many themes and complications of epic philosophy and theology, particularly as refracted through the prism of the Bhagavad Gītā. The Nārāyaṇīya Studien of Peter Schreiner, Angelika Malinar, et al., base their arguments on the doctrines of the Gītā and include the philosophy of Vaiṣṇava Purāṇas, on the other hand Johannes Bronkhorst’s Greater Magadha: Studies in the Culture of Early India analyze texts and explore the historical development usually regarded as anterior to the Mokṣadharmaparvan. These works and some others raise a number of themes and ideas that will help in investigation and interrogation of issues related to philosophy, gender, caste, history, geography, ethics, and many more in the Mahābhārata.

Mahābhārata Across South Asia

The Mahabharata spread through the sub-continent and in all of South East Asia. In Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia, the Mahabharata gave birth not only to important literary works, but also to theatrical expressions intimately linked to national cultures. In the Malay version, Hikayat perang Pandawa jaya, the epic remains close to the Panji cycle and serves as support to shadow theatre. The Javanese version of the Mahabharata, called Bharatayudha (The Bharata War), and the Arjunavivaha (Arjuna’s Wedding), is used in live theatre (wayang wong or orang) as well as in puppetry and shadow theatre. In Bali, each episode gives rise to independent performances where we find the same titles of Bharatayudha and Arjunavivaha, etc. In all of these countries, the Mahabharata contributes in creating a communication between different religious ideals and synthesizes cultural values.

Mahabharata and stories based on this epic are extremely popular in Muslim-majority Indonesia because the Hindu epics are part of the country’s culture. For centuries, many parts of the Indonesian archipelago were majority-Hindu. By the 7th century CE, Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms dominated both Java and Sumatra — Indonesia’s two most populous islands. References to the epics are everywhere in Java — the language, the street signs, the political commentary. In Jakarta, many buses are painted with lurid advertisements for an energy drink called Kuku Bima, which promises Bhima-like endurance. An enormous statue of Krishna leading Arjun into battle dominates the roundabout in front of the Monas, the country’s main nationalist monument. There is a nationwide charitable foundation for twins named the Nakula and Sadewa Society. And one of the country’s bestselling novels, Amba, uses the story of Bhishma and Shikhandi (a later incarnation of Amba) to talk about Indonesia’s purges of communists in the mid-1960s. Wayang kulit, a form of shadow-puppet theatre that features tales from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, can draw tens of thousands to performances in rural Java.

There are Malay versions of the Mahabharata, some of which probably entered Malay as abbreviated prose renditions of the Old Javanese Bhratayuddha. The earliest, Hikayat Perang Pandawa Jaya, ‘The tale of the war of the victorious Pandawa’, was composed sometime between the late 14th and early 16th century, and is mentioned in the Bustan al-salatin of Nuruddin al-Raniri composed in Aceh in 1638.

Sub themes:

1. Mahābhārata during ancient period
2. Mahābhārata during colonial period
3. Mahābhārata during Mughal period
4. Mahābhārata and Buddhism
5. Mahābhārata and Jainism
6. Mahābhārata and tribal cultures
7. Linguistic study of Mahābhārata
8. Mahābhārata and ethics
9. Mahābhārata and philosophy
10. Mahābhārata outside India
11. Sociological study of Mahābhārata
12. Mahābhārata’s adaptations in other languages
13. Contemporary adaptations of Mahābhārata
14. Mahābhārata in other art forms like drama, painting, puppet shows etc.
15. Mahābhārata and Cinema
16. Mahābhārata in Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Burma, Malaysia and other countries
17. Philosophy of Gita
18. Different aspects of Gita

Important Information:

Last date to submit Abstract: 25 May 2023
Last Date to Submit Full Paper for Publication: 31 July 2023
Conference Email Id:
All inquiries should be sent to the conference email id or 8897048598 (Dr Jai Singh)
Submit abstracts through the Google Form Link:

Registration Fee:

Rs 4500 with Accommodation
Rs 1500 without Accommodation (Conference Lunch will be provided)
Rs 500 for Online Presentation

Deposit registration fee online in the following account:
Name of account holder: The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad
Account number: 62122901303
IFSC Code: SBIN0021106
Name of the Bank: State Bank of India, EFL University Branch, Hyderabad

In case of any difficulty in depositing the Registration Fee please contact:
8897048598 (Dr Jai Singh)


Papers will be submitted to Peer Reviewed Journals with ISSN Number, processing charges if any will be paid by the participant directly to the Journal.